The humble one-rupee note, which has been defunct for so long that it would not be even a memory for the younger generation, is set to make a come-back, as the government has decided to restart printing the currency after more than two decades.
"The Reserve Bank of India will soon put in circulation currency notes in one rupee denomination. The notes will be printed by the government of India," the RBI said in a statement on Wednesday.
The central bank said the notes would be legal tender as provided in The Coinage Act 2011. "The existing currency notes in this denomination in circulation will also continue to be legal tender," it added.
Detailing the dimensions of the rupee note, the RBI said it will be 9.7 by 6.3 cm, with 100 per cent cotton rag content. It will weigh 90 grams per square metre and have thickness of 110 microns.
As watermarks, it will bear the Ashoka Pillar symbol in the window but without the words 'Satyamev Jayate' – much like the old notes, if any are still around – and carry a hidden numeral in the centre, with the hidden word Bharat in Hindi on the right hand side of the note.
"The colour of one Rupee Currency Note will be predominantly pink green on obverse and reverse in combination with others," RBI said.
On the obverse, the note will carry bilingual signature of the finance secretary, currently Rajiv Mehrishi. It will contain the words Bharat Sarkar and Government of India with a replica of the new rupee coin and rupee symbol of 2015 with Sataymev Jayate printed on it. A capital insert letter 'L' will be in the numbering panel.
Larger denomination currency notes in India bear the signature of the RBI governor, but the one rupee notes have traditionally been backed directly by the government rather than the RBI.
The numbering will be in black at the right hand bottom portion of the note, it added. On the reverse, it will contain Bharat Sarkar and Government of India words with the year 2015 on the representation of one rupee coin with rupee symbol having a floral design, RBI said.
"The surrounding design will consist of the picture of Sagar Samart - the oil exploration platform and with the authentic rendering of value in fifteen Indian language in language panel and the year figure shown in the centre bottom in international number," it added.
The printing of one rupee notes was stopped in November 1994, mainly due to higher cost and short circulation life, as well as for freeing capacity to print currency notes of higher denomination. Printing of two and five rupee notes was discontinued in 1995. Since then, only coins have been issued for these denominations.
There is no clarity on why the single rupee, almost worthless today except perhaps as change for a bus ticket, is being reissued in note form. It could be that the government feels paper is cheaper than metal for such a small face value.